The Ebon Cabal

Midwinter Festivities

29th Day of Hammer, Year of the Ageless One, DR 1479 Our heroes tramped through the snowy cold morning back to Loudwater and to a welcome hot lunch at the Green Tankard Inn, triumphant over the Goblins and Ogre King.

Seeking out Curuvar the Wizard, they delivered the Skull Totem to him, but he seemed to have little interest in the item, apparently looking upon the retrieval of the skull as a test of the adventurers’ mettle. The eccentric spellweaver proclaimed that he was impressed with the heroes, and that the Ogre King was actually a creature of magic, an oni, an ogre-like demon. Further, the old man revealed that the oni had designs on taking over this area and learning the secrets of the nearby Dire Wood, which he himself was investigating. Hinting that he might share his knowledge with the heroes should they continue to prove their worth, he departed leaving the companions perplexed and vaguely annoyed. Such is often the way of wizards.

Dividing up their spoils, the Horn Totem, a magical dagger made of what the heroes realized was an oni’s horn, was given to Falli. The magical chainmail was given to Zaine, dubbed Wolfmaster in a somewhat sarcastic fashion. The Skull Totem, a magical mace made from the oni’s headbones, was given to Bhurk, who fancied it’s rather macabre appearance.

Our heroes spent the rest of the day shopping around town and recovering from their battles with the application of many pints of ale and bottle of good winter wine.

30th Day of Hammer, Midwinter’s Eve, Year of the Ageless One, DR 1479

The day passed slowly for the heroes in anticipation of the meeting with the Ebon Cabal that evening. Around midday, a letter came to the Green Tankard with an address in Loudwater where the companions would meet the agent of the Cabal later that night. Seeking a diversion, the heroes went to the clothiers and purchased garb for the upcoming party at Lady Moonfire’s estate on the 2nd of Alturiak. There was a bit of consternation among the heroes, undaunted by goblins, but vexed at having to find a mask for the lady’s ball that would be appropriate for each of them.

Once darkness lay on the north lands, the heroes set out for the meeting through the dark cold streets of the trading town. Arriving at the site, they found an abandoned and demolished building with a hooded and robed fingue standing before it. The man introduced himself as “Hand” and invited the adventures inside. Shrugging to themselves, the companions found themselves within a cozy room instead of a drafty and rickety shack. Hand explained that he used a ritual to enchant this area and make it a comfortable retreat, private and inaccessible from the outside, while they chatted. He revealed himself to be a non-descript man of middle years, with his only distinguishing feature that he was bald – it was as if he defied being noticeable. He invited them to partake of a sideboard of ale, wine, and spirits, but only Bhurk had the courage to sample a scotch, which he found quite tasty.

Hand went on to explain that the Ebon Cabal was founded shortly after the aftermath of the Spellplague and has been recuiting adventurers to its ranks, forming them into cadres to do quests for the Cabal. The Cabal offers aid and assistance in return for two services a year, each service not to take longer than one month. The Cabal, Hand claimed, was interested in developing the heroes and encouraged them to seek out adventure where items of power might be had so that they could better serve the Cabal. If they agreed to join the Cabal, he would gift them with a minor artifact, with the promise of greater powers to follow.

The adventurers agreed and joined Hand in a Ritual to use the teardop of ebon that each of them carried in order to construct a magic ring. The more sagely of the heroes examined the Ritual and proclaimed it sound, and all joined in. After the Ritual was completed, the ebon tears had been mounted in magic rings, which Hand said would allow each of them to use a Sending Ritual once each day, capable of hurling about twenty words or so from their mind to the mind of another of their companions, who could respond in kind. Hand himself could also he reached, but he claimed that such entrities would be met with silence if he deemed the question sophmoric and unworthy.

The Ritual complete, Hand claimed that he would be in touch via the rings when the Cabal has need of them, and recommended they enjoy the local scene, as there was much adventure to be had in the region. They departed the magical room, and it and Hand himself, vanished.

Into the Tomb of the Ogre King

28th Day of Hammer, Year of the Ageless One, DR 1479

The heroes journeyed through the frozen forests near Loudwater for several hours before they reached the Ogre King’s Tomb. Weakened somewhat by the chill air, they began exploring the ruins they believed lead to the goblin’s lair in the Tomb.

Avoiding a stoney courtyard, fearing that the stone was weak and may be a trap, the heroes found a secret entrance to the goblin’s lair. Descending into the goblin’s den, as they had expected, the courtyard above them had indeed been a trap and would have dumped them into a pit where a pack of goblins would have been able to pick them off. But the tables were turned, and now it was the goblin’s that were surprised to find that they were being ambushed!

The melee was fierce, and although several goblins were downed in the initial rush, our heroes were beaten back by the stronger goblin warriors. Fithas the Drow acrobatically hung upside-down from a ladder to shoot over the heads of his comrades, while Falli wove words of healing power to restore her comrades and songs of pain to batter the goblins. The tide turned somewhat when Fithas, perhaps giddy from all the blood rushing to his head, climbed back into the courtyard and tried to break through the stonetrap to rain debris upon the hapless greenskinned foes. But he overestimated his prowess and could not bring the roof down upon the goblins as quickly as he hoped. By the time he sprang the trap, the melee had moved away from the pit and his fellow companions were battered by the goblins defense. But restored by Falli’s healing words, Kav, Bhurk, and Cora overwhelmed the goblin hexer and the last of his guards.

After a short rest, the heroes proceded deeper in the goblin lair, and discovered a shrine to worship the Ogre King. Battling between a force of dessicated dwarven zombies and a particularly nasty goblin warrior paired with a sneaky goblin rogue, the heroes fought bravely and managed to slay the undead and one of the goblins. Forcing the sly goblin thief to surrender, they questioned him about the rest of the ruin, and learned that the Ogre King’s remains were below with the High Shaman. Whilst the other heroes were exploring the crypt where the zombies emerged, Fithas was left to guard the goblin. Sadly, at this point, perhaps overwhelmed with grief over his betrayal, the goblin killed himself by thrusting an arrow through his own eye – or so the Drow archer claimed. The heroes discovered gems and jewelry left as offerings to the idol of the Ogre King, along with a suit of enchanted chainmail and a potion. Wearied from their battles, the band of adventures retreated back to the entrance and set up camp.

Unbeknownst to the heroes, another hero had been called by the Ebon Cabal to Loudwater and was trying to follow the company to the goblin lair. Zaine, a human warrior from Baldur’s Gate, had witnessed the other heroes revelation at the Green Tankard Inn that the Ebon Cabal had summoned them all to this lonely trading town. Wrestling with his thoughts over many pints of ale, Zaine decided to meet the companions in the morning and offer his services as another prospective member of the Cabal. However, the ale was stronger than he thought and he woke late in the morning and was left to pursue the heroes’ footprints through the snow. Worse still, as he tracked the company of adventurers, he himself became the hunted, as a pack of starving gray wolves came across his path and hungrily agreed that humans were indeed good to eat.

Fleeing from the wolf pack, Zaine came upon the broken courtyard and the campfire of the heroes below. Calling down for assistance, Zaine found himself rapidly cornered by the wolves against the pit. Seeing no other alternative, Zaine flung himself into the hole with the wolves soon following and the battle was joined.

Once the wolves were slain, cautious introductions were made all around. It was revealed that Zaine did indeed have a letter from the Cabal along with its strange seal, and the heroes reluctantly agreed that his sword would indeed by handy against the High Shaman. They settled down at their camp to take a long rest to refresh themselves before tackling the remaining goblins.

After a their rest, the heroes set forth to venture deeper into the goblins’ lair, which they had come to realize was actually the remains of an ancient outpost of a long lost Dwarven kingdom.

Bursting into an old catacombs, the adventurers were confronted with goblins and yet another hexer, and a new foe – hobgoblins! These man-sized goblin-kin brutes, heavliy armed and armored, held the doorway of the catacombs whilst their smaller cousins and the hexer battered the heroes with spears and spells. But the heroes beat down their defenses and rushed in to confront the magick-flinging hexer and the goblin spearmen. Fortuneately for the heroes, the hexer chose a defensible redoubt on the far side of a dark pit, in actuality a winding staircase dropping down a great shaft. But once our heroes had rushed around the pit, the hexer had no where to flee, and in the ensuign melee, was knocked over the edge of the pit and down the central hole of the winding staircase. The greenskinned magician did not survice his fall into the abyss.

After a quick search of the upper catacombs, and discovering a few bejeweled trinkets left from the ancient dwarves, our heroes cautiously descended the winding stair, careful not to take the same plunge that ended the goblin hexer’s existence so finally – as a crushed body at the bottom of the stairs. Now they had reached the final resting place of the Ogre King.

Confronting the painted and featherd goblin guarding an enormous bier covered in huge bones, our heroes had at last encountered the High Shaman of the Ogre King. The High Shaman was wise to be cautious with his opponents and tried to coerce the Horn Totem from the adventurers whist warning them to depart. But our heroes claimed to have lost the Horn Totem and questioned the High Shaman about his ritual to restore life to his dead king. The more erudite of the heroes realized that ths ritual was nonsense, but feared leaving the goblin practitioner behind in case he should stumble upon the right formula to restore the Ogre King. They tried to coerce the Skull Totem from the High Shaman, in order to bring it back to Curuvar the Wizard back in Loudwater, but this enraged the goblin mysytic and he hurled a ball of fire upon the heroes!

Confronted with this mad spell-wielder, the companions realized they had no choice but to fight for their lives and battled the goblin High Shaman with steel against his magicks. But in the end, the High Shaman could not withstand the concerted attacks of the heroes and he too fell to the adventurers onslaught. Our heroes took the Skull Totem, which turned out to be the Ogre King’s skull on a wooden haft, and scattered the remaining bones in the crypt.

Resting the remainder of the night, the adventurers set out for Loudwater the next morning, triumphant.

Goblins Storm Loudwater!

27th Day of Hammer, Year of the Ageless One, DR 1479

Who knew that a quiet winter’s morning would be shattered by easily?

Whilst you were walking along the row of shops, peering in windows at the various goods within, there came a terrific roar and a shower of dirt and timber scraps! A gaping section of the wooden palisade had been destroyed and goblins poured into the streets!

Knowing that you had to defend yourself, you set to with a vengeance, using your talents to protect yourself and the screaming crowd of townsfolk.

But lo, to your surprise, other adventurers have joined the fray! Perhaps they too were summoned here by the Cabal.

But see, the goblins came with some purpose in mind, not just bent on mindless slaughter. The leader, a goblin shaman, with feathered skull staff, seems to drive his warriors through the melee to a shop to steal a crude and primitive dagger made of some creatures horn.

This will bear further investigation now that the foul goblins have been dispatched.

The heroes of Loudwater gather together at the nearby Green Tankard Inn, and introductions are made round. Cora, the nimble halfling, seems most curious about that mysterious horn dagger, but Falli, the haughty tiefling, seems quite possessed with its charm. Fav-tal-met, a fiery swordbearing genasi shows more interest in the reason the goblins attacked than a piece of horn, whilst the dour and brooding Fithas, a elven bowman of drow descent, glances suspiciously at his fellow heroes, as if wondering what their game might be. But it is the sagacious and boistrous Bhurk, a dwarf practitioner of dark arts, that suggests that more than happenstance that brought them together. Aluding to a certain letter, the heroes find they are all in Loudwater to a common purpose… The Ebon Cabal!

Realizing that there might be a fellowship forming, Cora trustingly produces a scroll she found on the corpse of the goblin shaman’s remains, which proves to be a map back to the goblins’s hideout and a crude note.

Kerwig, Take dah alchmee fire barrel and go to dah town and blow big hole in dah south wall. Dere be a shop called G A R A W A N sumting – he gots dah totem. Get it OR ME KILL YOU!

Without dah totem, we not revive dah Ogre King!

Me will keep dah magicks working til yous gets back. Do not fail dah Ogre King!

While puzzling over the totem, map, and note, sipping drinks supplied by the bartender on the house for saving the town from the goblin “horde”, the captain of the militia turned up with another surprise – A reward of 100 gold!

Feeling a shopping spree was in order, the newly-formed adventuring band traipsed over to Garawan’s Curiosity Shop to have a chat and a look around. The old dwarven shopkeeper rewarded the heroes of the town by gifting them with the horn totem (magical dagger?!). He also said that it was a wizard, Curuvar the Brazen, a resident of Loudwater, who pawned the totem to him in the first place. Before leaving to find Curuvar, Fithas found a treasure map with Drowic script along the border, that he simply had to have. After a quick haggle, the grumpy dark elf was the proud owner of map to the purported final crypt of Princess Redblade, the murderous lady-bandit, who prowled the lands some four decades ago.

Finding the very odd wizard, Curuvar, at the Green Tankard, the party learned a little more, but not as much as they hoped. The wizard explained that he had recovered the horn totem from the goblins, who had taken up residence in an ancient dwarven stronghold of the lost kingdom of Ammarindar. Whimsically, or perhaps as some strange test, the wizard suggested that if the adventurers were to recover the skull totem he saw where he found the horn totem, and bring it back to him, he might have some lore that they would find most valuable in their treasure hunting.

As the lair of the goblins is only a few hours march south of Loudwater, plans are readily made to venture to the old dwarven stronghold and unearth the secrets of the skull totem and the long dead Ogre King.

Upon heading to bed to prepare for the next day’s march, there is a little surprise left for all. Gold-scripted invitations from Lady Moonfire, the Baroness of Loudwater, have invited the “Heroes of the Goblin Battle” to her keep for a dinner party she is hosting in her honor the 1st of Alturiak – the day after the Midwinter Holiday.

So much happening in the next few days! From the expedition to the goblin lair, to the meeting with the Cabal representative on the eve of the Midwinter festival, to be followed by a party with the Baroness – who knew that a trading outpost in the middle of nowhere could be so amusing?

A town called Loudwater...

26th Day of Hammer, Year of the Ageless One, DR 1479

Who will answer The Curious Summons?

Are you alone in here in Loudwater, or have others been tempted by similar scrolls to cross land and water to meet on Midwinter in this place?

And who will you be meeting with? Who penned the scroll with its ebony seal?

The town seems welcoming enough – a natural meeting of caravan route and riverbarge dock. Where a couple thousand hearty souls brave the fey wilderness of the High Forest to the north, and the mist covered High Moor to the south, to make a living supplying merchants and traders with a rest-stop, soundly defended against the perils of marauders, bandits, or worse.

There could be more unhappy places to be for the Midwinter Festival than a frontier town full of traders – whatever else happens, there’s sure to be a good tale worth telling in all of this…


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